Friday Five, August 7: A Quick Summary Of The Top 5 Articles From This Week

08.07.2020 Articles

With challenging times always comes a push towards creativity, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception to that rule. As brands and retailers look to develop safe and comfortable shopping alternatives for their customers, they’re turning to technology solutions that limit human interaction without disrupting the shopping experience. As the “New Normal” starts to feel more normal, one thing’s for sure: customer wants and needs are driving the way.

In this week’s “Friday Five” blog, we discuss popular industry themes such as the rise of contactless payment options, new e-commerce marketing trends, stay-at-home workwear clothing preferences, back-to-school shopping plans, and low-touch shopping alternatives for the safe and savvy shopper. Read below for a quick summary of five top articles from Retail Dive, Forbes, The Guardian, Forbes, and Retail Customer Experience. Enjoy!

1) CVS To Offer Venmo, PayPal QR Codes In Stores

Retail Dive – August 3, 2020

To allow for more contactless payment options in its retail locations, “CVS will now integrate PayPal and Venmo QR codes into its checkouts across its 8,200 stores nationwide,” according to Retail Dive. The innovative, tech-savvy change will happen quickly, and CVS plans to integrate PayPal and Venmo QR codes in its locations nationally in the fourth quarter of 2020. In PayPal’s company statement, they noted that “retailers can enable touchless payments at their point-of-sale terminals… which may help ease consumers’ wariness of shopping in physical stores because of the pandemic.” Reducing health and safety concerns for in-store customers has been a top priority for many national retailers, and CVS’s decision to adopt more contactless payment options is just another example of that industry trend.

2) 5 Pivots Ecommerce Marketers Are Making Due To COVID

Forbes – August 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the retail industry for both traditional and digital-first companies; brick-and-mortar stores are closing, supply chains are being disrupted, and – on the flip side – some e-commerce companies have accelerated three, five, and even ten years ahead of original forecasts. That said, retail and brand marketers are having to pivot their plans to keep up with ongoing industry shifts and the impending holiday season. A few such changes include an overall decrease in retail marketing budgets and brand marketing initiatives, a renewed focus on existing customer retention programs, a less risky approach to experimenting with new communication channels like TikTok and Snapchat, and a boost of investments in mobile optimization, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence systems that enhance at-home customer experiences.

3) US Suit Retailer Files For Bankruptcy As Joggers And Polo Shirts Take Over

The Guardian – August 4, 2020

According to The Guardian, “US company Tailored Brands, which controls Men’s Wearhouse and JoS. A. Bank, has become the latest men’s suit specialists to file for bankruptcy in the US as office workers stay home during the pandemic.” Although formal work dress codes have been on the decline in recent years as casual office attire has increasingly become the “norm,” COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders have caused a rapid increase in demand for comfortable and practical clothing staples such as joggers and “Zoom shirts,” AKA formal shirts only worn for video work calls. As well as Men’s Wearhouse and JoS. A. Bank, J. Crew and Brooks Brothers have both declared bankruptcy in the last few months as attitudes and opinions about acceptable workwear continue to shift.

4) Parents And Students Plan To Spend More On Back-To-School Shopping This Year, According To PayPal

Fortune – August 3, 2020

Despite the fact that only 55% of U.S. K-12 schools and 65% of U.S. colleges have announced plans for the 2020 back-to-school season, “the uncertainty around the new school year has parents and students looking for the best ways to prepare for both at-home and in-classroom learning scenarios, which is manifesting itself in several new shopping behaviors,” according to Fortune. Because people don’t know what back-to-school will look like, they’re preparing for everything – going back to physical classrooms, remote learning, or a mixture of both. In other words, they are planning to spend money on traditional products like clothes, books, and notebooks, in addition to personal safety gear like hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, and also remote learning supplies like headphones, laptops, and desks.

5) Retail’s Contactless Future Is Here: How Your Organization Can Put The Right Pieces Into Place

Retail Customer Experience – August 5, 2020

From wearing masks to standing 6 feet apart, to relying on curbside pickup and cashless transactions, consumer preferences are shifting towards safer, more socially distant forms of shopping in the wake of COVID-19. In particular, “contactless engagement, such as buy online and pickup in-store (BOPIS) and in-app purchases, are here to stay.” In addition to contactless shopping swaps, retailers must also create ways for customers to opt-in or opt-out of face-to-face human interaction. Some low-touch shopping alternatives might include appointment-based shopping appointments or even virtual reality fitting rooms. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ebb and flow, retailers will need to constantly re-evaluate how they are serving customers and develop new and improved contactless options that still allow for an enjoyable, engaging shopping experience.

We hope you enjoyed the first “Friday Five” of August! Are our “Friday Five” blogs helping you stay up to date on industry news? Let us know in the comments below, or on any of the BDS social media channels. We love to hear feedback from our community of industry professionals.

We hope you enjoyed the last “Friday Five” of July! Did we miss any big news developments? Let us know in the comments below, or on any of the BDS social media channels such as Instagram or Twitter @BDSmktg. We love to hear feedback from our community of industry professionals. Until next week!